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We Fund Dependency

Comment

"There are no jobs!" That is what people told me outside a government "jobs center" in New York City.

To check this out, I sent four researchers around the area. They quickly found 40 job openings. Twenty-four were entry-level positions. One restaurant owner told me he would hire 12 people if workers would just apply.

It made me wonder what my government does in buildings called "job centers." So I asked a college intern, Zoelle Mallenbaum, to find out. Here's what she found:

"First I went to the Manhattan Jobs Center and asked, "Can I get help finding a job?" They told me they don't do that. 'We sign people up for food stamps.' I tried another jobs center. They told me to enroll for unemployment benefits."

So the "jobs" centers help people get handouts. Neither center suggested people try the 40 job openings in the neighborhood.

My intern persisted:

"I explained that I didn't want handouts; I wanted a job. I was told to go to 'WorkForce1,' a New York City program. At WorkForce1, the receptionist told me that she couldn't help me since I didn't have a college degree. She directed me to another center in Harlem. In Harlem, I was told that before I could get help, I had to come back for an 8:30 a.m. 'training session.'"

Our government helps you apply for handouts immediately, but forces you through a maze if you want to work.

"WorkForce1's website says to arrive 30 minutes early, so I did," Zoelle said. "A security guard told me the building was closed. At 9:15, Workforce1 directed 30 of us into a room where we were told that WorkForce1 directs candidates to jobs and provides a resource room with 'free' phone, fax and job listings and helps people apply for unemployment insurance and disability handouts. This seemed like the only part of the presentation when people took notes.

"One lady told me that she comes to WorkForce1 because it helps her collect unemployment. One asked another, 'What do you want to do?' The second laughed, 'I want to collect!' One told me, 'I've been coming here 17 months; this place is a waste of time.'

"Finally, I met with an 'adviser.' She told me I lacked experience.

I know this. I asked for any job she thought I was qualified for, and she scheduled an interview at Pret, a food chain that trains employees. At Pret, I learned that my 'interview' was just a weekly open house, publicized on the company's website. Anyone could walk in and apply. Workforce1 offered no advantage. Despite my 'scheduled interview,' I waited 90 minutes before meeting a manager. He told me that WorkForce1 had 'wasted my time, as they always do.' He said, 'They never call, never ask questions.' He prefers to hire people who seek out jobs on their own, like those who see Pret ads on Craigslist.'"

My intern learned a lot from this experience. Here are her conclusions:

—It's easier to get welfare than to work.

—The government would rather sign me up for welfare than help me find work.

—America has taxpayer-funded bureaucracies that encourage people to be dependent. They incentivize people to take "free stuff," not to take initiative.

—It was easier to find job openings on my own. The private market for jobs works better than government "job centers."

Yet now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to expand Workforce1, claiming that it helps people "find real opportunities." I bet he never sends people in to find out whether they really do.

Once politicians figured out that welfare creates dependency and hurts poor people, they (logically) assumed that employment services and job training would help. Job training does help — when employers do it. But government does everything badly.

GeorgiaWork$, a state program in that state, provided such poor training that only 14 percent of trainees were hired.

The Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) operated more like a commercial for government handouts. It launched door-to-door food stamp recruiting campaigns, and gave people free rides to welfare offices.

America now has 47 federal jobs programs. They fail. Yet politicians want more. They always want more.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at www.johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.

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Comments

6 Comments | Post Comment
I worked at a state employment agency. I complained all the way up the chain of command about how the system in place wasn't helping people find jobs. I was promptly fired.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Dante
Tue Oct 2, 2012 8:12 PM
Thank you thank you thank you. I am a psychiatrist who has worked most of my career in the public mental health sector. What I find is government-controlled bureaucracies that are more interested in signing people up for
Social Security disability, Medicaid, and pharmaceutical company-controlled formularies for medications than housing, feeding, and otherwise caring for these vulnerable taxpayers. We forget that everyone who buys liquor or cigarettes is a taxpayer, and the poorest often pay most of their disposable income in taxes.
I have come to believe that all services supported by taxes should be open and free to all taxpayers. We are taxed on everything except breathing as it is, yet when "the public" claims the property, it becomes inaccessible to the very people who pay its way. School yards should be open for kids to play after school, to neighborhood families who want to have picnics. Streets should be free for parking, and all public buildings should have restrooms open to the public. Public parks, national parks, highways and rivers, are all owned by taxpayers, who pay a bundle for the government to cordon them off, charge fees and fines for "trespassing." If there were more public trash cans that were emptied regularly, the litter problem would disappear.
Rich and poor all suffer equally if there's a health problem or an education problem, so it makes equitable sense to maintain adequate sanitation, potable drinking water, and other public health protectors, like public health departments and hospitals, open and free to all, without the interference of government and insurance middlemen. It makes political and economic sense to educate children at least to read, write, and balance a checkbook. This is basic "survival skills technology" in today's world.
You have identified the key to the problem with this article. A nation founded on self-reliance has undermined its own human capital by seducing it into a state of blind dependency. When you make everything and everyone dependent on you, you are the most hog-tied of all.
No nation in debt to its taxpayers can claim freedom, democracy, or capitalism. We are becoming the laughing stock of the world, because of our studied incompetence.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Katharine C. Otto, MD
Wed Oct 3, 2012 10:07 AM
Thank you thank you thank you. I am a psychiatrist who has worked most of my career in the public mental health sector. What I find is government-controlled bureaucracies that are more interested in signing people up for
Social Security disability, Medicaid, and pharmaceutical company-controlled formularies for medications than housing, feeding, and otherwise caring for these vulnerable taxpayers. We forget that everyone who buys liquor or cigarettes is a taxpayer, and the poorest often pay most of their disposable income in taxes.
I have come to believe that all services supported by taxes should be open and free to all taxpayers. We are taxed on everything except breathing as it is, yet when "the public" claims the property, it becomes inaccessible to the very people who pay its way. School yards should be open for kids to play after school, to neighborhood families who want to have picnics. Streets should be free for parking, and all public buildings should have restrooms open to the public. Public parks, national parks, highways and rivers, are all owned by taxpayers, who pay a bundle for the government to cordon them off, charge fees and fines for "trespassing." If there were more public trash cans that were emptied regularly, the litter problem would disappear.
Rich and poor all suffer equally if there's a health problem or an education problem, so it makes equitable sense to maintain adequate sanitation, potable drinking water, and other public health protectors, like public health departments and hospitals, open and free to all, without the interference of government and insurance middlemen. It makes political and economic sense to educate children at least to read, write, and balance a checkbook. This is basic "survival skills technology" in today's world.
You have identified the key to the problem with this article. A nation founded on self-reliance has undermined its own human capital by seducing it into a state of blind dependency. When you make everything and everyone dependent on you, you are the most hog-tied of all.
No nation in debt to its taxpayers can claim freedom, democracy, or capitalism. We are becoming the laughing stock of the world, because of our studied incompetence.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Katharine C. Otto, MD
Wed Oct 3, 2012 10:08 AM
Some great comments. What truly sux for middle class American citizens is we pay 30-40 percent in government taxes, and receive maybe 3-4 percent back back in defence, infra-structure and maintenance. The rich receive loop-holes on taxes and the "less-fortunate" receive most of the benefits and can strangely afford luxury items I can't. I am struggling to understand this situation.
Comment: #4
Posted by: LoFlyer
Thu Oct 4, 2012 11:30 AM
Should there be welfare reform, yes. Remember, a single mother needs daycare, and you can't pay the rent and daycare on a minimum wage job. I've been unemployed for 6 years, making ends meet with temporary contact jobs. If I went to a minimun wage employer and they took a look at my previous position and salary they wouldn't hire me because they know I am looking for another position and don't want to waste the time training me. I've had phone interviews with the comment that they will contact me for a second interview, only to have the interview canceled, that they decided on someone else that best meets the future of the company. Meaning, I'm too old and they want someone younger. I found the position reposted a week later.
Explain to me how to pay a $600.00 a month rent on a $300.00 a week job?
Comment: #5
Posted by: Janice
Fri Oct 5, 2012 6:31 PM
My, how far we've come since the early 80's when you had to look for work and even take part time work in order to collect unemployment (the unemployment was cut by the amount you earned). I missed one job because my car was out of commission and couldn't get to it - I didn't get any unemployment that week either.
On the other hand, they were just as crooked back then as they are now only with the recipient - when it came to over payments - I asked for a receipt when they took it back (they told me I wouldn't need one) - but 6 months later, when I was back at work, I had to take an afternoon off work to go to a meeting at Job Service (they refused to tell me what it was about) Turned out it was about that over payment - if I hadn't gotten that receipt, they'd have gotten it again, even to the point of garnishing my wages - and I wasn't the only one that happened to. Oh, btw, when I went in the next week to get the determination about the meeting? There was no record of it having taken place. End the farce of government "employment" offices. The only ones that it works for are the people that "work" there.
Comment: #6
Posted by: "SAM"
Mon Oct 8, 2012 1:04 AM
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